• Question: Why are bacteria important at least three reasons?

    Asked by KnowledgeableKeva to Katie, Frances, Diarmuid on 18 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Katie Fala

      Katie Fala answered on 18 Nov 2019:

      Thanks for your question KnowledgeableKeva! They can decompose things (like plants and animals that are no longer living) and recycle the elements back into the environment to make new things, and are also are the only converters of Nitrogen in the atmosphere to the form of nitrogen that living things need and use (other than lightning strikes). They form really interesting and important symbioses with plants and animals, including humans, for example on our skin or in our intestines, that can help our bodies to work well, absorb nutrients from out food and possibly influence how likely it is that we become sick and develop certain diseases. Some bacteria can cause important infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis or food-borne diseases like Listeria or Salmonella – so it it is important that we keep studying these to figure out ways to prevent and treat these infections. Also, a lot of newer biotechnologies depend bacteria as mini-factories to produce important medicines like insulin and antibiotics. In short, they are all around us and we would be lost without them! Let me know if you’ve any follow up questions 🙂